Make your own swing bench

Photograph: Francois Oberholster
Styling: Marian van Wyk
Photograph: Francois Oberholster Styling: Marian van Wyk
Francois Oberholster
Make a bench for your patio or garden – then kick back and relax with a sundowner.
Project Guide
  • Hard labour 5/10
  • Skill level 5/10
  • Time needed 3-4 hours
  • Finished size about 1 300 (L) x 850 (W) x 550 mm (H)

Project notes

  • Always make sure the planks are square.
  • It’s important to drill pilot holes.

You will need

Shopping list

  • 38 x 114 mm SA pine, cut to: three 550 mm lengths (base struts); three 850 mm lengths (backrest struts); two 390 mm lengths (armrests); four 670 mm lengths (armrests and finishing); five 1 300 mm lengths (seat and top backrest slats); one 1 220 mm length (backrest slat)
  • 50 x 76 mm SA pine, cut to: two 1 500 mm lengths (support struts)
  • twenty 6 mm x 60 mm coach screws
  • fifty 6 mm x 75 mm coach screws
  • 1 container Woodoc Plus Life PRIMER 
  • 1 container Woodoc Water-Borne DECK Clear
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • 10 metres of 6 mm chain
  • four 6 mm shackles
What is a coach screw?

Coach screws are heavy-duty screws designed to join heavy timbers, or metal to timber. –


  • cordless drill and 4 mm drill bit
  • 16 mm spade bit
  • 10 mm socket and ratchet
  • jigsaw
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • tri-square

Get started

1. Measure and mark 76 mm and 50 mm at the bottom of both ends of the three 850 mm base pieces. Use the jigsaw to cut out these corner pieces to fit the support struts. Also measure 200 mm underneath (at the back) and 170 mm above this, and join the two marks to establish the angle of the backrest.

2. Place one 550 mm backrest on this diagonal line and attach it with two 6 mm x 60 mm coach screws. Repeat to make three of these base-backrest assemblies. Tip Use the 4 mm drill bit to drill pilot holes and the 16 mm spade bit to countersink the screws.

3. Measure and mark 100 mm from each end of the two 1 500 mm support struts. Attach a base-backrest assembly (from step 2) at each of these marks, and screw the third assembly into the centre between the two with 6 mm x 75 mm coach screws.

4. Screw a 670 mm plank and a 390 mm plank at right angles to each other and attach this to the frame with the 6 mm x 60 mm coach screws. Repeat on the other side.

5. Use small blocks of wood to evenly space four of the 1 300 mm planks apart – this will form the base. Join these planks with 6 mm x 75 mm coach screws. Attach the fifth 1 300 mm plank to the backrest at the top with the 1 220 mm plank underneath.

6. Place the remaining two 670 mm planks on top of the armrests and attach with 6 mm x 75 mm coach screws. Sand the bench smooth and varnish.

7. Attach chain or rope to the four support struts of the bench and you’re ready to enjoy that sundowner! A U-bolt is well suited to linking the chain.

How to care for your swing bench

Frikkie Greeff, Woodoc’s Managing Director, suggests using Woodoc Plus Life PRIME followed by Woodoc Water-Borne DECK Clear: "This combination will ensure the optimum lifespan for wood in exterior conditions. Quick and easy to apply, it dries relatively quickly to a hard surface that won’t attract dust but will achieve a natural look.

"For the best results, make sure to follow the application instructions printed on the product packaging.  Always apply one liberal coat of Woodoc Plus-Life PRIMER followed by three liberal coats of Woodoc Water-Borne DECK.  Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the subsequent coat.  Sand very lightly with fine sandpaper between coats.”

Did you know?

If you'd like to give your swing bench a contemporary colour, you can tint Woodoc Water-Borne DECK with any of Woodoc's range of COLOURS, which are available in 12 fashion colours like 'Seaweed' and 'Mulberry', as well as 8 natural wood shades like 'Imbuia' and 'Meranti'.

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April 2023

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